Scotland first country to sign up to poverty and inequality goals

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​Charities have praised Scotland's approach to the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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23rd July 2015 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Major third-sector organisations have praised Scotland becoming one of the first countries to announce its commitment to delivering on a United Nations (UN) policy to tackle poverty and inequality.

The Network of International Development Organisations (Nidos) and the Poverty Alliance, who among them have nearly 300 members, said signaling our intent to meet the UNs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will strengthen Scotland’s position in the world.

The SDGs are a global approach of targets and indicators which United Nations member states will be instructed to use to shape their political agendas and policies over the next 15 years.

Made up of 17 aims they will be launched at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2015.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is one of the first leaders to publicly support the SDGs, which are a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals. She said they were an improvement as they are universal and not restricted to developing countries.

Empowering women and girls, reducing inequality within countries, achieving food security, creating decent jobs, promoting inclusive education should be priorities for all governments

She added: “Since I became First Minister, I have made clear my priority to alleviate poverty and tackle inequality in Scotland.

“Ensuring that everyone can do better in life will not only make Scotland fairer, but it will also make it a more prosperous place. We are seeing some progress but there is still more work to do.

“But tackling poverty does not stop at the border. It is hugely important for Scotland to take its share of responsibility for addressing this problem globally and providing international leadership.”

Annie Lewis, chair of Nidos, whose members actively engaged in the consultation processes that helped shaped the SDGs, said it welcomed the opportunities they present to strengthen Scotland's programme for tackling poverty and inequality, and to push for a more sustainable, global economy.

She added: “Many of the causes of poverty and inequality are common to Scotland and countries around the world. The national performance framework is a great way for Scotland to continue promoting renewable energy, taking action on climate change, and tackling inequality and poverty in line with these new global targets.

“We are looking forward to continue to work with colleagues here in Scotland – in the civil society sector such as the Poverty Alliance and Oxfam – and with other sectors to help build action together. The leadership from the First Minister is wonderful.”                   

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said the experience of poverty is different around the world but if progress is to be made in tackling it then there are certain shared goals that should be pursued.

“Empowering women and girls, reducing inequality within countries, achieving food security, creating decent jobs, promoting inclusive education should be priorities for all governments,” he said.

“As the Scottish Government develops its own long term approach to creating a fairer Scotland, it is important that we locate our efforts within this broader international framework.

“By aligning the Scottish framework with the UN’s priorities we will not only ensure that we take an approach to tackling poverty that is rooted in fundamental human rights, but will also help to build the solidarity between communities and countries that is needed if we are to genuinely make progress.”